There’s been a lot of lively debate about the right way for the Edmonton Oilers to go about pulling off a proper rebuild, and the opinions are as diverse as the people you talk to — except when it comes to the players.

Fans, media and fartcatchers alike have different takes on the best way to go about the business of setting the Oilers straight after four years out of the playoffs. There’s the "You’ve got to stink to high heaven and be a lottery team" crowd. Some people talk about "The "Chicago model" and the "Pittsburgh model," like those teams somehow mastered the art of losing as opposed to getting lucky and blah, blah, blah.

Then, there’s the Oilersnation derivation of "Exciting Last Place Hockey." It’s a bit of fudging where fans get the best of both worlds — a competitive team that comes up just short most nights and slides into the lottery with a combined 59 overtime and shootout losses.

It all makes for interesting fodder on websites like this one, but there’s not a helluva lot of debate about the merits of such things like losing or finishing 19th as opposed to 27th as part of a rebuilding plan within the walls of the Oilers dressing room.

Another Taylor Hall on the way in 2011? What does the Taylor Hall the Oilers have now think about the concept?


A bunch of us talked to Hall, Edmonton’s reward for finishing 30th last season, this morning and we asked him about what he sees as the best route to a "proper rebuild."

"If we could get really close," Hall said, talking about the possibility of the Oilers finishing in the playoffs, "if we could have a really good stretch just like we’ve been doing, that would be a great opportunity for us.

"We all want to win. Losing sucks. The guys in here who did it last year, they don’t want to do it again. Nobody does, and Tom (Renney) isn’t going to let that happen. That’s pretty much our reasoning in here."

Players want to win. That’s not stop-the presses stuff (although I’m often surprised by how many fans actually believe players set out to lose when they take the ice as part of a master plan).

Hall obviously understands the potential merits of teams playing like ripe Limburger cheese for seasons on end. He’s a prime example, after all. He sees more value in success, even limited success, as part of the learning curve, like making the playoffs — even if it’s one-and-done in the first round — which doesn’t jibe with being a lottery team.


"You see teams that are young and just squeak into the playoffs," Hall said. "What they do next year, you look at their records, they do a lot better just because they get a taste for it.

"They know what it’s like early in their careers. It just gives them a little bit of a head-start. Like I said, that’s what we’re thinking in here. We’re not thinking about a rebuild. We want to be as good as we can as quick as we can."

I guess it depends on what your definition of "as quick as we can" is. Do the Oilers have enough young talent on the roster and in the system now to contend next season or the season after without a lottery pick in the next two summers, assuming they fill some obvious holes via free agency or trades?

Do fans who support the slow-and-steady mode have the patience to see this team out of the playoffs for six or seven straight years? If the Oilers are within hailing distance, say, six or eight points, of a playoff spot at the deadline, will you clamour for a trade or two to get the team over the hump this spring?

Is there really a tried-and-true timeline for a rebuild, or is it a moving target based on personnel and the development pace, or lack of same, of young prospects like Hall?

Is there really a model or template?


— So, we’ll finally see what all the fuss, including a petition, over the Oilers adding some jiggle to their game night presentation was about against the Maple Leafs Tuesday. The cheer team, made up of 19 young women aged 18-29, will strut its stuff live at Rexall Place after six weeks of tryouts and workouts. Will we hear anything more from Lisi Monro, the oh-so-concerned young lady who started the petition? Any placards (fat chance they’ll get past the gate) or protests tonight? A show of flannel, perhaps?

— If you wanted a glimpse of the yesterday’s news mentality in the sports journalism business, it was on display in the dressing room today. While everybody with a microphone or a notepad was swarming players with questions about the hideous third periods in the last two games, Linus Omark sat quietly in his stall without anybody near him. Quite a contrast considering Omark was the flavour of the day after Friday’s shootout spin-o-rama against Tampa Bay. Then again, the fact the Swede is a brutal interview might have something to do with it.


— Expect to see tough guys Steve MacIntyre and Zack Stortini back in the line-up against the Maple Leafs.

— If Jim Vandermeer can’t play because of the ankle injury he sustained in the first period against Vancouver, and it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to go, expect Renney to dust off Jason Strudwick and put him in.

— By the way, the petition started by Monro had 1,509 signatures on it when it was presented to team president Patrick LaForge. I wonder how many of those people are season ticket holders?

— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Or you could get off the moral high horse and ignore the whole thing, because in reality its not that big of a deal. Like you don’t see hot women on TV or in the newspaper or magazines or on billboards or in movies or (god forbid!) the internet already. And none of that doesn’t seem to be changing despite the latest rant to the contrary.

  • Horcsky

    @Robin Brownlee/David S.

    I wasn’t commenting on the petition, I was just expressing my opinion, as a ticket buyer. I doubt you’d get many more season-ticket holders to sign a petition in favour of cheerleaders. I think, and I might be wrong, that most people are unimpressed but largely indifferent.
    I think that cheerleaders are the latest in a long series of developments designed to appeal to suits who business-expensed their tickets, or teens who drove their parent’s SUVs to the game-Casual fans, who are there because it’s cool. I think that most fans like going to games for the hockey, and not only do we not need cheerleaders, dance music, that goof with the microphone etc. they are irritating enough to take away from the experience. That’s just my opinion. There was never a moral high-horse, though I could easily get on a grammatical one.

    You’re absolutely right, I shouldn’t have commented on the article without seeing where the conversation was at. How rude. Souray isn’t going anywhere this season. If the Oilers ever thought he was worth the trouble, odds are some other team would too, and Tambo/Katz clearly aren’t willing to lose him on re-entry. That he was ever willing to fight in the minors shows that he knows it; look at his interview after the fight. He sounded like he understand that he was a Bear for the entire season, even if his critics did not.

    • S.Tambellini

      Yeah man! The suits! Stupid corporations doing all those corporate things. Down with industry! Hemp power! Business-expense my balls you suit-wearing objectifiers!

      Look at how corporate those Eskimos games are man. You can’t even stumble drunkenly down the stairs anymore without spilling your beer on some $500 pair of Sergio Georgini shoes. Its the damn cheerleaders man!

      P.S. I can tell that you are just a workaday everyman with your “grammatical high-horse” comment. *golf claps in your direction while lighting a fart on fire with a clove cigarette*

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I am all for great draft picks but with Eberle at what? 21st overall or so there are Jewels all over the draft. I will be happy no matter what this season. If we improve during each of the next 4 years and get at least to the west final.

  • John Chambers

    The cool thing about lottery picks is that you might actually “win”. It’s within the realm of possibility that we could finish 15 points up on the Islanders and still draft ahead of them.

    I don’t know about you suckers, but this is my retirement plan.

    *Scratches another Pot-of-Gold ticket*

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    In the end it doesnt really matter what we want the team to do, they will do whatever to win. No one plays for second place much less last, even though i would like to see a lottery pick. That said lets just sit back and enjoy what happens!!!

  • Oilers4ever

    Just like I’ve been trying to tell you guys all along… whine all you want about how you think the team needs another draft lottery.. but you can bet if the best young stud on the team wants no part of it and the way he’s tried carrying this team, it won’t happen.. him, Ebs, MPS,and a whole boatload of them want nothing to do with 30th and neither does the coach.. sorry guys… another lottery pick as just a pipe dream and amen to that.. we don’t need it… this city will start getting some good young UFA’s when they say what’s being built.. and what top level forward wouldn’t want to play with these kids? You’d be stupid not to.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      You do realize that over the last 4 periods the team has been outshot 49 – 12 right?

      Might be a little early to claim that a top 5 pick is off the table.

      • Oilers4ever

        Yes that’s true.. but they still won one of those games and lost the other by only one goal.. and realistically, if their PP would learn to finish better with the chances they had, they could have won that game as well.. teams win games all the time that they shouldn’t even when outshot badly because their goalies wins one for them… so while I do agree they need more shots…it’s an abberition for two games which they split and likely won’t happen again. To think this team is a bottom 5 team is just plain stupid. They have too much talent… and if they can stay right around the .500 mark until Hemmer gets back in a couple weeks, they’ll be fine… then Horc will return, everything will be fine. There are too many fairweather fans of this team with negativity and always see the glass has half empty instead of half full.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Infectious , inspirational leader Hall is already talking and doing something about it here already . Already he is bringing a winning attitude to dressing room and it’s noticeably rubbing off on the team . They want to win this season and not 3-4 years down the road ! If only management had that same attitude and were to deal for upgrades for this talented group then anything might be possible .

    Hall and management seem like opposing opposits in rebuild process . HALL WANTS TO LEAD TO NEXT LEVEL ! Seems to me present management to conservative for a talent like Hall and entourage, and they will come to lagerheads if management does not do a better job of filling voids in team more effectively and timely ? Xmas wish – give this team something more to work with pronto , and get off this kick of long rebuilding processs rhetoric . We have the emerging leader no doubt in Hall, but management is a questionable deterrent ?

    Having both Hemsky and Horcoff out of lineup sure doesn’t help much , but maybe it’ll inspire Tams and company to get on their high horses and try to get some more help in here sooner than later ? We got the winning attitude in place , but do we have the managerial team to bring it to fruition as early as this year for setup at least for next season and future ? I am as turned off by a slow rebuild as the players are !

    • hamzinoilcntry

      Your thought process does not lack for ideas but…. Like it has been said on here time and time again. This is not NHL 2K11.

      If there are no trades to be made with the other 29 teams ST can’t just phone somebody up and say look I am packing up Andrew Cogliano’s house as we speak I am going to pin a C note to the collar of his shirt. Could you pick him up at the airport and if you wouldn’t mind could you maybe send me back one of your player?….thanks MMMkay!

      No trades are happening these days period! It’s not that ST maybe isn’t trying but trading for the sake of trading is just that.

  • Horcsky

    If the Oilers were in the East, then maybe a lottery pick would be less likely because they would be playing weaker teams. Although I think the Oil are better than Jersey, NYI, Toronto, and Florida, they won’t be playing these teams for the rest of the season after tonight.

    Those teams on the other hand get to play each other, and unfortunately, no matter how bad they suck, SOMEONE has to win the game and they’ll pick up points.

    The Oil get to play the western teams, basically all of which are better than us, no easy games and points to be had.

  • cambosmash

    Someone could stand to “lead cheers” in Rexall. Although there are occasional glimpes into what the Oilers may become that send fans into a frenzy (ie. Omark in the SO), RX1 is basically a tomb right now.

  • S.Tambellini

    I’m all for this team pushing for the playoffs. I’d feel more secure about the 2011 draft if we had a lottery pick, but if we are in the top 15, we’ll have to rely on Stu to find us a gem. Tyler Myers went 15th. Fowler went 12th last year. Sometimes, teams draft based upon need and you get a nice prospect with a later pick. There are definitely plenty of Dmen and centres projecting to go in the 1st round. I get a feeling there will be a run at centres given that there are so many teams that need an elite centre. I feel the Oil could use another centre prospect preferably with size to complement Gagner, Cogliano and play with all of these skilled wingers we have.

  • S.Tambellini

    @Dan The Man/S.Tambellini
    Yeah, those other things are objectifying too. No, I honestly don’t like porn. This isn’t really the place to debate that, so I’ll leave it there.
    We’re not talking about Eskimo games though, are we Tambo? If you honestly haven’t noticed arena culture moving away from hardcore fans and towards casual fans/non fans who want to be seen, then I think you don’t watch enough tv. Edmonton, being full of hardcores, hasn’t experienced it as badly, and hockey hasn’t been hit as hard as basketball (I think), but it is happening. Bill Simmons talks about it all the time. Corporate tickets might have saved the oilers, but they’re diluting the NHL fanbase. I’m not saying this as a communist; I’m saying it as a hockey fan.
    It doesn’t take an elitist to see that, “none of that doesn’t seem to be changing” wasn’t what he meant to say. I’m a dishwasher, by the way.

  • Mikey "miraclehands" - Team FIST

    Alright everyone who doesn’t want cheerleaders just make sure you watch the players stand at the benches and ice staff clean the ice during every TV timeout,12 times a game.The rest of us will take that time to enjoy some fine entertainment by some of edmontons finest tonight.This arguement is lame,every other sport has cheerleaders….it’s purely alittle extra entertainment during what has been a none entertaining season for the most part.I second the comment about them staying out of the bleeds tho cuz then there might be some charges laid towards acouple oiler fans.

  • Mitch


    Watching the game tonight at home, I’m pissed that the oilers have no answer for Phanuef, Orr, and Versteeg. We take a bunch of stupid penaltys, is it really gonna hurt to take a couple more. Zach should turn down the request from Orr, he’s not a effective fighter, never has been never will be, make Orr take a penalty there. Also didn’t like Armstrong giving a stiff shot to Paajarvi. Strudwick should just retire already, great guy, I get it but can no longer play the game. There’s that sign when the team walks out on the ice that says “protect this house” I’d have a reno team come first thing in the morning and replace it with “protect each other and don’t let each other down.” There was some very hard tough mean minutes out there and once again 75-80% of the team never showed up or quit at the first sign of adversitey.